The administration is desperately searching for a way to help thosewhose health insurance policies were cancelled due to the launch of ObamaCare. But how do you unravel the chaos created by four million cancellations at the same time you’re trying to sign up seven million uninsured?
"Well, all of a sudden, the interest in delaying or putting off ObamaCare has become bipartisan," says John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis. "You have Democrats and Republicans - everybody knows we're not ready to do this."
Lawmakers have suggested several options -- extend the enrollment period, delay the individual mandate for a year or delay the entire law for a year.
Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center says, "take another year, everybody ... catch their breath, let them stay in the old plans and we can continue to fight about this in 2014.”
But Bob Rusboldt of The Independent Insurance Agents And Brokers Of America, adds an important condition.
"If you delay the individual mandate, you must delay the mandated new coverages that begin on January 1, 2014. You can't mandate all of these new benefits and not have those healthy young people come in the system to help pay for those benefits."
Bob Laszewski,President of Health Policy and Associates,adds, "the ObamaCare program cannot sustain itself if we don't get lots and lots of healthy people signing up. And if the administration just suspends the mandate,they're guaranteeing that they've got a financial catastrophe."
That’s because the program needs healthy people to pay more to cover the costs of those who are older and sicker.
The main focus of fixes would be to help those the president acknowledges were hurt when their current policies were cancelled, now more than four million and growing.
But undoing the damage that's been done will be difficult for insurance companies, Laszewski says.
"They have put all the cancellations through and eliminated those policies the way they were required to do by law. You can’t just hit the reset button here. It will take many months for the insurance industry to be able to reinstate those policies."
He says it would take about six months to reinstate policies that fall under the authority of the state insurance commissioners, not the federal government.
One official floated an even grander idea -- give higher subsidies to reduce the sticker shock many have experienced. But, like other options, that would have to go to Congress.
Even if subsidies were raised, the problem now is that the website isn't working well enough for people to find out what they might be.
And, of course, the president would have to go back on yet another pledge-- that ObamaCare would not raise the deficit by a penny.
Given all the confusion, one stalwart supporter of the law, Ron Pollock of Families USA, limited his advice to one point.
"The most important thing for the president to do,” he said, “is to make sure that the website works so that people can actually go online and find other plans that are going to be helpful."